Sew Darn Cute Longarm Quilting with April Wells
10 hours ago
Well, the Bahamas Breeze quilt is completed now, and it's one that I quilted myself on my Bernina 440 QE. This year I've been trying to become more proficient at free-motion quilting, and I've had what I would call moderate success. I can manage small projects quite well, and enjoy quilting them. But larger pieces like this one (about twin size) are another story. I'm not a fan of my workmanship standards on large pieces. I chose to free-motion quilt spirals placed around the quilt surface and filled in the remaining areas with a curvy-line, decorative feather stitch in turquoise thread. I'm only happy you can't see the quilting in the photo! It looks as if I attended the "Wobbly Fried-Egg School of Free-Motion Spirals". While intended to be symmetrical, mine are decidedly not. But I love the quilt anyway, and that's how it should be. I used almost every scrap of Bahamas Hand Print fabrics that were given to me by quilting friends on our January 2012 cruise to Nassau. So it's a meaningful quilt for me. Look... even the back of the quilt is pieced from bits of the fabric. A two-fer, lively on both sides.
And, being a quilt gadget person, this is my dandy tool for this project. It's a marking tool called Quilt Pounce. This refillable container, about the size of a small wallet, contains a chalk-like powder. I found my kit (pouncer plus powder) at a local quilt shop.
When opened, the lambs-wool like pad is used to force the marking powder through a stencil onto the quilt top. You actually rub it rather than pounce it because pouncing produces a small cloud of dust. The powder is fairly visible on the surface, and is available in one or two other colors to ensure it can be seen on both dark and light fabrics. And it stays put. You can then stitch on the markings (ha! you can, I was only "in the ball park" so to speak) and then iron the quilt to remove the powder. Not all of the pounce products disappear with heat though, so be sure to read the package to make sure you get the iron-off kind. I believe the other type is a brush-off kind. I'm never confident it will disappear, so prefer this iron-off type. Overall, my conclusion is that important large quilt projects will continue to go to a long-arm professional, while small projects I can handle, and enjoy stitching. But I don't think I enjoy free-motion machine quilting enough to wrestle with larger quilts on my home machine, nor am I especially skilled at doing so. And I am glad to still feel good about the quilt despite the struggles, as opposed to feeling an urge to trash it and be done! It still makes me happy.